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Innovator in residence

The University established an Innovator in Residence position and appointed Bill Tai in 2010. The aim of the position is to inspire and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in digital technology. The position has led to the establishment of the annual West Tech Fest and the connection of many fledgling WA businesses into international markets. These include design platform Canva and the blockchain based energy trading company, Powerledger.


Bill Tai is a highly successful technology venture investor and entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering with Honours from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Harvard.

Bill is a technology visionary, a person who has the capacity to accurately pick and back technology trends. His interests have evolved from silicon-based technologies to telecommunications applications, social media, data management and now, Blockchain and Cryptocurrency.

In 2010, following an inspirational talk in Perth on global technology trends, he was invited to work with Curtin University as a visiting professor and innovator-in-residence. He has also served for seven years on Curtin’s Commercialisation Advisory Board, helping to create an entrepreneurial environment for students and researchers.

Bill’s work with Curtin led to the establishment of technology awards to motivate and support early stage entrepreneurs. This quickly grew into a regional competition, attracting hundreds of entries from Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong and leading to the establishment of many businesses. One example is the highly successful design platform Canva, established by two young West Australians, which has grown into a multi-billion dollar enterprise.

The awards competition has now developed into a major, annual technology festival, West Tech Fest, that last year attracted more than 2,000 attendees.

Bill has generously introduced our early stage entrepreneurs to his global network of investors. He has also promoted Curtin at significant international gatherings including the World Economic Forum and the Nekker Blockchain Summit that he established with Sir Richard Branson.

Bill Tai has helped the University to strongly position itself, and Western Australia, for the rapidly evolving technology economy and was recognised for his contribution through the award of an Honorary Doctor of the University in 2018.